Pensioner Jailed For Nine Months After Heroin Was Planted In Luggage
A British pensioner has spoken out about the 'hellish' nine months he spent in prison after drug smugglers planted three kilos of heroin in his luggage.
The 68-year-old computer consultant was sent on a job in Mozambique and was asked to buy gifts from Maputo Market to bring back to an associate in Amsterdam. He was then given a case to carry the gifts back in by a colleague called 'Jack', but was stopped by Portugal's national anti drug-trafficking unit during a transfer at Lisbon airport in May 2018.
The authorities proceed to tear open the lining of the case and found three kilos of heroin with a purity of 38.2 per cent, which is enough to make 38,400 individual doses.
According to The Mirror, Mr Hambrook said: "I was surprised. I'd bought straw hats and African carvings and put them in the bag. I had no reason to suspect an ulterior motive.
"I suppose in hindsight I should have been suspicious. Jack offered to lend me a bag and he carried it up the stairs to the room and to the airport. I never had the chance to pick it up and test the weight, I never thought there was anything untoward. Jack said, 'Thanks for coming to sort out the problem'.
"When I landed I picked up the bag and these two men just appeared. Two women were there and one of them got a knife and slashed the side of the case.
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"There was black plastic there, but I had no idea what it was - I had no idea it was heroin. I had no idea there were going to be any issues."
Mr Hambrook went on to spend nine months behind bars, seven-and-a-half of which were served at high security prison, EP Lisboa, during which period Mr Hambrook lost three stone.
He said: "The prison was awful. One time the phones weren't working and I wasn't able to call home. I told the guard it was unacceptable and they accused me of attacking him.
"I spent days isolated in a segregation unit. I didn't even leave to exercise because I was worried I'd be targeted.
"There's no air conditioning and no heating. There was an open toilet in the cells, although most inmates put up a curtain so there was a degree of modesty.
"Lunch was so appalling I asked for vegetarian food immediately. I remember seeing a piece of skin served up as meat and there was still hair from the pig sitting on it.
"During the time I was in, there were 12 deaths - only four of those were from natural causes."
Mr Hambrook was eventually acquitted and he is now writing a book about his experience.
He said: "I've never smoked, I've never taken drugs. I've never even bought cigarettes. There is justice in Portugal - but it moves excruciatingly slowly."
Featured Image Credit: Gerard Couzens